How is the flu treated?

The flu is treated mainly by supportive care, such as staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and taking over-the-counter medications.

The flu may be treated using prescription medication called “antivirals” that fight against the virus in your respiratory tract. Studies show that antiviral drugs are most effective when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later may still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick.

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care. If you get sick with flu symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. However, if you have symptoms, are in a high risk group, or are very sick, contact your healthcare provider.